Blackstone Labs Criminal Trial Update Co-Defendant Pleads Guilty

Copyright Troll Richard Liebowitz Drops Case After Suing On Behalf Of The Wrong Party And Trying To Swap Plaintiffs

Why oh why do people still hire copyright troll Richard Liebowitz? There are just so many stories of him messing up cases and getting scolded by judges, you’d think that people would think twice. But then, yet another story of Liebowitz messing up comes to light. The latest is a real doozy. 

Click here to read full article on TechDirt.com.

Pier59 sues Milk Studios for alleged safety code violations

Fashion studio Pier59 has sued a rival photography studio claiming that it has violated safety codes in its Meatpacking district studio spaces in a Google-owned building.

Pier59 Studios — owned by Italian Prince Federico Pignatelli della Leonessa — claims in a new Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit that Milk Studios is doing film shoots without proper permitting in its offices on the 2nd, 8th and penthouse floors of the Sky Line adjacent 450 West 15th St. building.

Read more at PageSix.com.

Firm Obtains Early Dismissal Copyright Infringement Claim Brought by Attorney Richard Liebowitz and Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal dismisses “selfie” copyright case against Paper Mag after legal maneuvering goes awry.

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Five years after she came to national attention for identifying as black woman while being of European ancestry and having no verifiable African ancestry, Rachel Dolezal is again at the heart of a legal controversy. This time, Dolezal filed suit for copyright infringement after Paper Magazine included Dolezal’s public Instagram post as part of their news coverage. 

Last summer, Dolezal announced on Instagram that she’s bisexual. Among the pop culture and celebrity media that covered the June 15 announcement was New York-based Paper Magazine, which published a story, including Dolezal’s Instagram selfie which was part of her announcement.

Three months later, a lawsuit filed on behalf of New York company Polaris Images accused Paper Magazine of copyright infringement based on an alleged “exclusive license” to market all images of Dolezal.

The Subject Image in the litigation.

The Sept. 3 lawsuit was filed by New York attorney Richard Liebowitz, who was recently called a “copyright troll” by a federal judge due to his prolific litigation history — filing over 1,100 copyright infringement lawsuits over the past three years .

The lawsuit against Paper Magazine sought all profits earned from publishing the photo, plus $150,000 in damages — the maximum allowed under federal law for willful infringement of a copyrighted work.

This time, however, Robert Tauler, Paper Magazine’s Los Angeles attorney, found the way to stop Liebowitz’s deluge of copyright lawsuits stemming from social media posts.

“Our team was able to find a legal loophole in Mr. Liebowitz’s modus operandi, which forced Liebowitz to backtrack and name Dolezal as the plaintiff instead of the original plaintiff, Polaris,” Tauler said. “However, plaintiff’s lawyers can’t switch horses in the middle of a copyright lawsuit, and when we challenged Mr. Liebowitz’s second attempt he was forced to dismiss the case before our motion to dismiss was even heard by the court.”

Liebowitz dropped the lawsuit on Jan. 29, and apologized to U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Polk Failla, explaining that the switch was just a misunderstanding – an explanation Tauler expects to challenge when seeking attorneys fees for his client.

“I believe the loophole we exposed can put an end to endless filing of copyright lawsuits like this one,” Tauler said. “Some copyright attorneys make a living exploiting technical aspects of the law that do not advance any of the objectives of the Copyright Act, let alone provide any benefit to society. Lawsuits like this hurt the legal profession by flooding our courts and draining the resources of legitimate businesses.”

A copy of the lawsuit and Liebowitz’s apology letter to the court can be found here.

Tauler Smith LLP Defeats Three Successive Motions for Summary Adjudication in Protein Bar Dispute

LOS ANGELES, November 10, 2019 ‑ Tauler Smith LLP has successfully defeated three motions for summary adjudication in complex multi-party litigation regarding the manufacture of protein bars. The triad of motions were brought by cross-defendants Defense Nutrition, LLC, Sapphire Bakery Co., and Bruce Olsen, Sapphire’s former CEO, against law firm client and cross-complainant Eagle Mist Corporation.

The litigation has spanned over three years and includes three cross-complaints between seven parties, all relating to business disputes surrounding the manufacture of thirteen types of nutritional protein bars. In one cross-complaint, Eagle Mist Corporation, who specializes in formulation of foods, has alleged that various entities conspired to commit fraud and breach a series of contracts culminating in the conversion of Eagle Mist Corporation’s assets.

In two separate hearings on October 1 and November 8, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Linfield denied cross-defendants’ Motion for Summary Adjudication in their entirety, allowing Eagle Mist’s claims of breach of contract, conversion, concealment, and fraudulent misrepresentation proceed to trial.

The Court rejected the arguments brought by Cross-Defendants, including that lost profits were unavailable to Eagle Mist, reasoning that the availability of lost profits “is a quintessential jury question.”

The case is set for a two-week jury trial in January, 2020. “We are very pleased that the Court has agreed that our clients’ claims should proceed to trial,” lead counsel Robert Tauler said.

$40 Million in Contempt Sanctions for False Advertising of Weight Loss Supplements in Violation of Injunction Affirmed

The 11th Circuit upheld a district court’s granting of $40 million in contempt sanctions against Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals and other co-defendants for making unsubstantiated marketing statements on four weight loss supplements in violation of an injunction obtained by the Federal Trade Commission. The $40 million figure represents the amount of gross revenue from the four products.

“The ink had hardly dried on filings from the first injunction case when the defendants started a new marketing campaign in 2009. This time, they touted the fat- and weight-loss benefits of four products—a reformulated version of Lipodrene, Fastin, Benzedrine, and Stimerex-ES. For example, advertisements for Lipodrene warned users not to consume the product unless ‘fat loss and weight loss are your intended result’; advertisements for Fastin boasted that it was an ‘Extreme Fat Burner’; those for Benzedrine claimed that it would ‘annihilate . . . fat’; and advertisements for Stimerex-ES told users that this was a product ‘for those who want their fat-burner to light them up all day as their pounds melt away.'”

The full opinion is available here.

Judge orders co-founder of Puls Technologies Inc. to appear for deposition in fraud lawsuit

Itai Hirsch, co-founder and President of Puls, faces lawsuit alleging he defrauded an early-stage shareholder out of equity. Trial is set for September.

I am glad Itai Hirsch will finally be deposed. So far, Puls Technologies has been very dodgy in this case, which may be why they are on their third set of lawyers.”

— Attorney Robert Tauler

SAN DIEGO, CALIF., USA, July 22, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ — Puls Technologies Inc. co-founder and President Itai Hirsch was ordered to appear for deposition next month as a civil lawsuit accusing him and the company of fraud heads towards a Sept. 6 trial.

“I am glad Itai Hirsch will finally be deposed,” Attorney Robert Tauler said.

Puls and Hirsch are accused of defrauding an early-stage shareholder out of millions of dollars, equivalent to a 5 percent stake in the company, according to the lawsuit, filed in October 2017 in San Diego County Superior Court.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Gregory Pollack on July 12 ordered Hirsch to appear for his deposition. The move comes after Puls Technologies in late June announced the appointment of new CEO Mitch Galbraith.

Puls Technologies also shuffled its legal counsel after the ruling, making this the third AmLaw 200 firm to represent Puls during the pendency of the lawsuit. “It is rare that a corporate client like Puls Technologies switches lawyers during a case of this importance, but it is even more rare to switch twice,” Tauler said. 

The lawsuit alleges that Hirsch held secret funding talks with Sequoia Capital Israel Ltd. that were not disclosed to the plaintiff. The fraud claim alleges that the plaintiff was dismissed from the company under false pretenses just weeks before Puls (then known as Cellsavers and based in San Diego) publicly announced $3 million in funding in December 2015. Altogether, Puls has now raised over $90 million in funding — thus dramatically increasing the value of the plaintiff’s stock, according to the lawsuit.

Hirsch kept the funding deal under wraps so that he could keep the plaintiff’s promised equity for himself and his new investors, while taking advantage of the plaintiff’s work — which was crucial in justifying the start-up’s valuation, the lawsuit alleges. (San Diego Superior Court case number: 37-2017-00041466-CU-BC-CTL)

Puls provides in-home repair and installation for electronic devices and smart homes, like a Lyft for technicians. Last year it was named one of LinkedIn’s top start-ups to watch.

Read the press release at EIN Newsdesk.

House Fire Prompts $1 Million Dispute With Airbnb

Eight Airbnb guests were staying in the three-story house that overlooked the Sonoma Valley. Fortunately, all eight escaped the flames unharmed. Minutes after they made it out, the burning house came crashing down.

The Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue fire marshal’s report on the incident notes non-code electric work near a wooden outdoor deck. Investigators also noted two of the Airbnb renters admitted they were smoking on that deck, about an hour before the fire started:

– It was possible that one of them threw cigarette butts over the deck railing or dropped some on [the] deck.

Ultimately, the fire’s cause was declared “undetermined” by the fire marshal. But no matter what ignited the flames, the house was a total loss.

The $1 million question

After the fire, the homeowners obtained a contractor’s estimate to rebuild. The estimate: $1.8 million.

The homeowners — who are remaining anonymous — told NBC Bay Area they received a $600,000 payment from their property insurance provider, but not the $1 million they were counting on from Airbnb. Its “Host Guarantee” offers homeowners “Property damage protection of up to $1 million for every host and every listing—at no additional cost.”

Consumer attorney Robert Tauler says promises like the Airbnb Host Guarantee aren’t always easy to redeem.

“They don’t just write checks for a million bucks without kicking the tires, for sure,” Tauler said.

Tauler specializes in holding tech companies accountable for their advertising. He says simple assurances spelled out on an app look easy, but putting those promises into practice — like after a fire — might meet resistance.

“Frequently, their acts are inconsistent with their words,” Tauler said. “That’s a real serious problem.”

Click here to read the full article and view the segment aired on NBC Bay Area.

Appellate court upholds multimillion-dollar verdict for collagen supplement inventor

Jury ruled that NeoCell Corp. officers conspired to dissolve the majority partner’s shares in
the Irvine supplement company’s manufacturing arm.

RIVERSIDE, Calif., April 8, 2019 — A jury’s $5.4 million verdict against an Irvine, Calif.
skincare company for trying to cheat a business partner was unanimously upheld by a
three-justice panel of the California Court of Appeal in a decision released on April 5.
Inventor Ahmad Alkayali sued NeoCell Corp. and his former business partners in 2013 after
they dissolved his 72% equity share in a collagen supplement factory without paying him or
even informing him of the move.

“I am very pleased the Court of Appeal reached the right decision and upheld the jury
verdict in all respects,” said Attorney Robert Tauler, of Los Angeles commercial litigation
firm Tauler Smith LLP. Tauler obtained the verdict in late 2015 after 14 days of trial
spanning three months. “It has been a long and difficult road to obtain this result, but the
Court’s detailed opinion makes this all the more gratifying.”

The justices upheld the Riverside County jury’s 2015 decision to award Alkayali $4.26
million in economic damages and $500,000 for emotional distress, plus $185,000 in punitive
damages against Akram Quadri, one of his former business partners.

The dispute centered around collagen supplement manufacturer Healthwise Nutraceuticals,
Inc., and sister company NeoCell, which marketed and sold the products. Alkayali owned
most of Healthwise, and the defendants owned Neocell and 28% of Healthwise. Following a
lawsuit over NeoCell, which Alkayali founded and sold, the defendants colluded to dissolve
Healthwise and transfer its assets to NeoCell without informing or compensating Alkayali.
The trial court reduced the jury verdict after trial, in portions of the final judgment that were
not part of the appeal.

The appellants unsuccessfully argued that the final judgment was not supported by
substantial evidence in various respects, including the eventual amount of damages
awarded. “We disagree with (Appellant’s) characterization of the state of the evidence,”
Justice Marsha G. Slough wrote in the April 5 decision. Justice Douglas P. Miller and Justice
Carol D. Codrington concurred.

Tauler Smith Successfully Defends Real Estate Developer in Seven Day Jury Trial

Firm Attorneys Robert Tauler and Dillon Millar successfully defended a real estate holding corporation and several individual defendants after a seven day jury trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, obtaining dismissal of 23 claims, including fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, in litigation that spanned close to three years.

The dispute arose in 2016 regarding loan agreements obtained for a property development in Los Angeles. Judge Elizabeth White presided over the seven day jury trial, dismissing claims during trial by granting Defendants’ motion for nonsuit, as well as dismissing Plaintiffs’ claim for attorneys fees.

“I could not be more pleased with our preparation and performance” said lead trial attorney Robert Tauler, “we really gave it everything we had, and I am glad things went our way.”

After submitting their case, the parties were able to resolve their remaining claims prior to receiving a final judgment, forestalling future litigation and culminating in dismissal.